Women tend to be prone to deficiency of blood and qi because of their different reproductive system structure and physiological functions – menses, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. These factors could easily cause woman to age prematurely, or even diseases due to malnutrition of the body’s organs. Thankfully, TCM herbalists have come up with one of famed herbal remedies for women long ago – Ba Zhen Tang or Wan (8 treasure tea pills or decoction).
Women love beauty is a nature but unfortunately, more often than not, they are aiming in the wrong direction, such as applying cosmetics, heading to beauty parlor, taking diet pills and unnecessary supplements, and receiving breast enlargement surgery. However, the clever woman needs only to do one thing right – take good care of her blood and qi. The reason is so obvious because the plenty of them are the sole source of beauty and health.
Theories behind Ba Zhen Tang
Before going into details, it is important to go over some basic knowledge about these two concepts from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Blood is considered as the most important in Yin body fluids, which is closely related, although not identical, to the counterpart in Western medicine. Besides of supplying physical basis to human body and tonifying the organs, it also shoulders another crucial task – carrying Qi along with it.
This is because TCM believes that blood and qi supplement each other, the latter regulating the former’s course while providing the momentum needed and the former nourishing zang-fu viscera in order to generate both them again. They just keep working this way over and over again. Furthermore, the former also regulates body temperature and moods while the latter fights against the exogenous pathogens and enhances the functions of zang-fu viscera.
Insufficiency thus occurs when the body bleeds heavily or lacks raw material for generation of them. The causes include massive hemorrhage, chronic eating disorders, and prolonged diseases, etc. As a result, a dark complexion occurs if zang-fu lacking of nourishment and vertigo appears if head lacking of nourishing. Usually the most affected organ is heart, directly presenting heart throbbing in chest.
Deficient qi follows the viscera weakening. It, as mentioned above, is in charge of dynamic offering. Hence, the initial symptoms are impotence, fatigue, low weak voice, and less willing to speak. After the dynamic reducing, the most severely hit will be stomach and spleen, which are responsible for accommodating food, transporting nutrition and fluid and require the power all the time. The deficiency of it results in lack of power, which thus tremendously brings down the capacity of holding food. Therefore, people tend to lose their appetite.
What is Ba Zhen Wan?
Also known as women’s precious formula (teapills) or eight treasure tea pills, it comes from Zheng Ti Lei Yao (Cataloged Essentials for Correcting the Body), published in 1529 by Bi Li-zhai. Sometimes this formula is misspelled as Ba Zheng Tang (Wan), but please note that they are two different formulas.
Dang Gui (Dong Quai);
Chuan Xiong (Szechuan Lovage Root);
Bai Shao (White Peony Root);
Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia);
Ren Shen (Ginseng);
Bai Zhu (Atractylodes Rhizome);
Fu Ling (Poria);
Zhi Gan Cao (Honey Fried Licorice Root).
The dosage depends on a few different factors, like the severity of diseases, age, and sex, etc. If in doubt, please consult a TCM physician.
Benefits and indications
Main function of this recipe is to invigorate blood-qi. Main uses and indications are deficiency of them, manifested sallow or pale complexion, palpitation, inappetence, shortness of breath, laziness to speak, tired limbs, dizziness, pale tongue with white coating, and weak thready pulse or hollow pulse.
From the point of view of western medicine, Ba Zhen Tang is very likely to be used in chronic diseases like anemia, persistent hepatitis, and neurasthenia and in gynecopathy like irregular menstruation, retarded growth of fetus, metrorrhagia and metrostaxis, and habitual abortion. In addition, it is also suitable for excessive bleeding in trauma and long-term ulcer as long as the pathogenesis is qi-blood deficiency.
The ingenuity of this herbal soup is that it consists of two ancient Chinese herbal formulas – Si Wu Tang (4 Agents Decoction) and Si Jun Zi Tang (Four Gentlemen Decoction).
Si Wu Tang is known as The First Famous Formula for Replenishing Blood, which has the best treatment effect for conditions due to Yin blood deficiency. And Si Jun Zi Tang mainly restores the function of spleen-stomach to promote the circulation of blood-qi. The combination brings out the best in each other and appropriate for more severe conditions.
Potential side effects and contraindications
Does it sound too good to be true? Unfortunately it is far from a panacea. It works only for those symptoms and signs caused by blood-qi deficiency. But if not, it is a good idea to stay away from it for those with heavy internal heat or fever and cold. Else, because the herb of rehmannia contained is notoriously difficult to digest, extreme care should be taken when using Ba Zhen Wan or Ba Zhen Pian in those with upset stomach or chronic indigestion.